Other Amphibian of the Week

Marbled Salamander (Ambystoma opacum)

Marbled Salamander
photo by Brian Gratwicke

Common Name: Marbled Salamander
Scientific Name: Ambystoma opacum
Family: Ambystomatidae – Mole Salamander family
Location: United States
US Location: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia
Size: 4 inches (10.16 cm)

The Marbled Salamander lives throughout most of the eastern United States. They are mainly fossorial, spending most of their days underground or under logs. They do come to the surface at night to hunt and during the fall to breed. Then, they travel to breeding sites near depressions in the ground. The male will court the females with nudging, head swinging, lifting, and body-flexing. The male will deposit his sperm on the ground and the female will pick it up with her cloaca. The female then fertilizes the eggs inside of her.

Marbled Salamander
photo by Todd Pierson

The female lays their eggs under surface material in a depression. She lays between 30 – 200 eggs at a time. The females will stay with the eggs and guard them until the rains come. The rain fills up the depression with water and the eggs will hatch. It then takes the larvae 2 to 9 months to complete their metamorphism.

The female and male have different colors. The male’s stripes are white while the female’s are gray or silver.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Marbled Salamander as Least Concern for Extinction. The salamanders have a wide range and are numerous throughout it.

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